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Political Notes: More Climate Talk

7/6/2022 | Josh Kurtz

Maryland Matters

On Tuesday, another Democratic contender, former U.S. Education Secretary John King, also traveled to South Baltimore — standing in front of the Wheelabrator trash-to-energy plant to tout his climate plan. The scene was a little less bucolic and considerably louder than Moore’s event, as King sought to draw contrasts with current state leaders and his Democratic primary opponents amid the din of the plant.

According to his campaign, King is alone among the Democratic candidates in proposing a “Green New Deal” and opposing all natural gas pipelines, in pledging that Maryland will only use clean electricity by 2030 and will hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2035, and in promising to close the Wheelabrator plant and the Curtis Bay medical waste incinerator in Baltimore.

King said his opponents are “not willing to commit to the bold actions that we need to tackle the climate crisis” at a time when “it has never been more important for the state of Maryland to lead.”

“He’s treating it like an emergency,” said Josh Tulkin, executive director of the Sierra Club Maryland chapter, which has endorsed King for governor.

The Wheelabrator plant has particularly irked environmentalists, because under current state calculations it is receiving credits for creating renewable energy, even though city officials say it is the worst source of pollution in Baltimore.

“We all know that burning trash is not renewable energy,” King said.

In a related development, King is up with a new 30-second TV ad suggesting that a lifelong educator has the right credentials to be governor.

“The great thing about the idea of a teacher as governor, is that teachers know it all starts with listening — to students and parents,” he says in the ad. “That means hiring more teachers and counselors, helping kids in high-need schools, improving access to mental health services, and seeing each of our students as whole people. That’s how a teacher thinks, and how a governor should too.”